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The Expectations Game

Watching the Presidential campaigns try to set expectations this week has been damn near hysterical. Every time big deadlines or big events roll around, the campaigns go further and further to make their guy look hapless, and make the other guy look like a rock star. It’s a delicate act of setting the bar low so you can clear it. The best example had to be McCain on the Today show Wednesday.

VEIRA: You are in Florida campaigning. I want to talk about your fund raising efforts. You downplayed them saying they haven’t been as successful as you hoped because we have not done a good enough job. At what?

MCCAIN: At raising money.


MCCAIN: Because it’s my fault. I have not done a very good job at it. I am not very good at it and hope to get better. We are happy with where we are but have improvements to make. In many areas we are happy with the progress. In others we have a long way to.

VEIRA: How could you improve it? You have campaigned for years. You must know how to raise money?

MCCAIN: I have never been good at it. I am working hard and we will improve and things will move right along. We are still in spring training. I am happy where we are.

The declarations of fundraising failure by Presidential aspirants have gotten so bad that they made me think of the Daily Show’s post-debate spin segment after the first Presidential debate of 2004.

The way they see it, by not allowing himself to be reduced to tears, the President was a big winner tonight… the Bush people would like to remind everyone their man held his own against, what they call, the smartest man in the history of the world. An amazing accomplishment for a President whom, as the Bush team points out, is by some standardized test results, technically retarded… Jon, as RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie told me before we came on air, this is a President that was nearly killed by a pretzel.

Let the spin continue, but please ignore the rest of us laughing at you.

Written by Michael Turk